THE ALUMINAIRE HOUSE
1930 - 1987 THE ARCHITECTURAL LEAGUE OF NEW YORK CITY AND ALLIED ARTS OF INDUSTRIES BIANNUAL EXHIBITON OF 1931 IN NEW YORK, THE MUSEUM OF MOERN ART EXHIBITION OF 1931 - MODERN ARCHITECTURE - AN INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION AND THE HARRISON WEEKEND HOUSE IN SYOSSET, NEW YORK 1931 - 1987
1930 Walter Sweet proposes that A. Lawrence Kocher organize the Allied Arts and Industries exhibition of modern material in the 1931 bi-annual exhibition. Kocher, 1885-1969, studied at M.I.T. and taught architecture ant U. Penn and U. Virginia from 1912-28 and was Managing Editor of the Architectural Record journal from 1928-38. Kocher had designed a "modern architects office " for the 1929 bi-annual exhibition.
1930 A. Lawrence Kocher hires the Swiss architect, Albert Frey 1903-78 to work on the exhibition project and worked on the project in Kocher's house in Forest Hills, Queens. Frey worked in Le Corbusier's atelier from Oct. 1928 until July 1929 and arrives in New York in Sept. 1930, and replaced Gerhard Zeigler who worked with Kocher and left America.
April 1931 Kocher and Frey publish an article in the Architectural Record; "Real Estate Subdivisions for Low-Cost Housing". They also collaborated on articles regarding closets, garages, stairs and windows for Architectural Record in 1931.
Apr. 6-16,1931 The "Aluminaire House - A House for Contemporary Life", is erected for the bi-annual exhibition in the Grand Central Palace on Lexington Ave. between 46th and 47th Streets.
Apr.16-23,1931 The Aluminaire House is exhibited with the Architectural League exhibition, over 100,000 people are reported to have visited the House.
April 1931 Philip Johnson, architect, organizes the Rejected Architects exhibition in a storefront on 57th St. near 7th. Ave., in demonstration against the Architectural League section of the bi-annual exhibition.
April 1931 Wallace Harrison architect, 1885-1981, purchases the House for a reported $1,000. and moves and re-builds it on his recently acquired property on Round Swamp Road , Syosset Huntington, Long Island. Harrison attended the Ecole des Beaux Arts in the 1920 and worked in the office of McKim, Mead and White and Bertram G. Goodhue from 1916-23 and participated in the teams on Rockefeller Center that was completed in 1939.
Feb.10-Mar.23 The Museum of Modern Art has its first architectural exhibition, Modern
1932 Architecture: an International Exhibition, under the directorship of Alfred Barr and curated by Henry Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson. The Aluminaire House, listed as the "Harrison House, Syosset, Long Island", was one of the six American projects exhibited. A separate exhibition on Modern Housing was organized by Lewis Mumford, Catherine Bauer and Clarence Stein. The exhibition was accompanied by a catalogue, Modern Architecture.
1932 The publication; The International Style; Architecture since 1922, by H. R. Hitchcock and Philip Johnson was a bi-product of the MoMA exhibition and included the Aluminaire House.
1940's Harrison moves the House to a hilly part of his property without dismantling it.
1974 Harrison sells the estate to art dealers, Harold and Hester Diamond.
1981 Harrison dies.
1984 The property is again sold to Dr. Joel Karen.
1985 Former Harrison estate goes on the National Register of Historic Places.
xxx, 1986 Dr. Karen obtains a demolition permit for the House in order to develop the property with houses.
Mar. 8, 1987 Paul Goldberger, architectural critic for the new York times writes an article about the pending tragic demolition of the House.
1987 - 2011 NEW YORK INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
May 26, 1987 Letter from Dr. Joel Karen, owner of the Aluminaire house to NYIT giving the house in exchange for removing it from his property beginning September 1987
NYIT Board of Trustees approved accepting the house and the project for the School of Architecture to dismantle and move it to the Central Islip campus.
June 1987 Grant application submitted to NYS Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Aug. 28, 1987 NYIT awarded NYS Dept. P., R., & H.P. Grant # EQ-87-HP1-42002 for $131,000. The Contract was signed by NYIT on Oct. 11, 1989 and by NYS on Apr. 27, 1990.
Dec. 17, 1987 Site visit by NYS, Austin O'Brian, Merrill Hesch, Rebecca Harrison, Kathleen La Frank and Jim Hunting to review project plan and sites for the house.
Fall 1987 First photographic documentation of the House.
Spring 1988 First Class of 7 students taught by Prof. Schwarting and Adj. Prof. Paul Field met twice per week:
Made measured drawings and begin the deconstruction.
Removed all wall fabric- drew insulation panels - Feb. Mar.
Removed inside insulation panels - documented wood and metal frame of
exterior and interior walls- Apr.
Removed ceiling and flooring - drew wood ceiling framing- May.
Frances Campani hired part time to make drawings from student work.
Summer 1988 Paul Field Construction Co. hired to remove aluminum panels, exterior insulation, windows, roof, cement panels, chimney to keep schedule proposed to Dr. Karen.
Fall 1988 Second Class of 6 students met twice per week:
Removed third and second floor interior and exterior girts and nailers, roof framing and stair.
50% of the material was moved to Central Islip, Sunburst 12 building.
Spring 1989 Third class of 13 students met twice per week:
Removed first floor exterior and interior girts and nailers, stairs and basement.
Remaining material was moved to Central Islip- Sunburst 12
Existing conditions drawings- ink on mylar - completed
Fall 1989 Fourth Class of 9 students met once per week:
Prepared existing structure -scraped and prime painted
Oct. 1, 1989 Second application sent to NYS Dept. P., R. & H.P.
Jan. 23, 1990 Building Permit issued by Islip Building Department.
Feb. 13, 1990 NYIT awarded NYS Dept. P., R., & H.P. Grant # EQ-89-HP2-4040 for $70,000. NYIT signed the Contract May 4, 1993 and NYS on
Spring 1990 Fifth Class of 6 students met once per week:
Built and set forms and poured foundations and footings.
Reconstruction Drawings- ink on mylar- completed.
May 31, 1990 Received Grant from the Alcoa Foundation of the Alcoa Aluminum company of America for $10,000.
Fall 1990 Sixth class of 18 students met once per week:
Prepare existing structure, set column sleeves and poured slab.
Set new columns on ground floor.
Spring 1991 Seventh class of 15 students met once per week:
Completed framing and installed second floor steel decking and stairs.
Fall 1991 Eighth class of 15 students met once per week:
Installed third level steel decking, stair and exterior girt system.
Spring 1992 Ninth Class of 12 students met once per week:
Work on House suspended because of funding.
Research original and replacement materials
Fall 1992 Tenth class of 12 students met once per week:
Mechanical, electrical and plumbing drawings prepared.
Nov. 1992 Hired preservation consultants Higgens and Quasbarth and historian Andrew Dolkart to write a required Historic Structures Report and draft nomination for the National Register. The report was completed on 1996 and approved by NYS P., R.& H.P.
Spring 1993 Eleventh class of students met once per week:
Made full scale mock up of construction assembly.
Spring 1994 Interview with Albert Frey in Palm Springs, California with NYIT AAUP Grant
Research at Kocher Archive at the library at Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg VA
Dec. 1996 Michael Schwarting and Frances Campani receive a grant from Furthermore (Kaplan Fund) to publish a book on the Aluminaire House once construction is competed.
Mar. 1997 Paul Field Construction Co. was hired to work on the exterior wall, installing wood 'nailers' , homosote, building paper, cementitious panels and windows to enclose the building. Sandblasting and painting the existing steel frame, roofing and glazing were contracted. Replacement metal panels were fabricated in June 1997. The work was completed in November under the supervision of Michael Schwarting and Frances Campani.
May 1997 The 'Friends of Aluminaire' established to seek matching funds for the Grants.
Apr. 1998 Metal panels were installed on Saturdays by donated Carpenters Union workers from April to August under the supervision of Michael Schwarting and Frances Campani.
Mar. 1999 Missing two exterior steel and glass doors, two windows and curved window frames were designed and fabricated. They were installed in 2001. Lexan installed in curved window frames in June 2002.
May 2004 NYIT closes the Central Islip campus to nearly all of it's academic programs, including Architecture.
2011 The House is sold by NYIT to the Aluminaire House Foundation Corporation, a 501 C 3 non-profit operation that will relocate, maintain and open the House to the public.
Exhibitions and Lectures - partial list
1993-present Annual Aluminaire House Tour, Exhibition and Lectures at Central Islip
Aluminaire 1 1993 Kenneth Frampton
Presentations- Philip Johnson, Terrence Riley, Steven Holl, Tod Williams, Joan Ockman and Joe Rosa
Aluminaire 2 1994 Christian Otto
Aluminaire 3 1995 Julian de la Fuente
Aluminaire 4 1996 Charles Gwathmey
Aluminaire 5 1997 Michael Graves
Aluminaire 6 1998 Douglas Cardinale
Aluminaire 7 2000 Douglas Kellbaugh
Aluminaire 8 2001 Tod Williams
Aluminaire 9 2002 Michael Sorkin
Aluminaire 10 2003 Michael Schwarting
Aluminaire 11 2004 Mary McLeod
May 1993 Michael Schwarting lecture's on the Aluminaire House to the Society of Architectural Historians local chapter in Albany, New York.
Michael Schwarting lectures on the Aluminaire House to the local Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians in New York City.
1997 Frances Campani's lecture "The Aluminire House-Reconstructing the Idea" presented at the annual North East ACSA Conference
1998 'Reconstructing the Aluminaire House' exhibition at the Architectural League of New York. It included original drawings loaned by the
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation archive.
Oct. 15, 2002 Society of Architectural Historians visit the house on the Annual Domestic Tour - 'The Architecture of Long Island'.
Apr. 4, 2003 Michael Schwarting lectures on the Aluminaire House at a Metal in Architecture conference at M.I.T. .
July 2003 Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities; SPLIA tour the house and hold their annual meeting at CI.
2011 - present THE ALUMINAIRE HOUSE FOUNDADATION
June 2011 The Aluminaire House Foundation Inc. is formed as a non-profit organization with a mission to dismantle and relocate the House to a suitable location and to maintain and open the House to the public.
April 2012 The House was not secure and being vandalized. It was dismantled in 5 days and put into container storage.
Jan. 14, 2014 An application to locate the House in Sunnyside, Queens, across from the Sunnyside Gardens and Phipps Gardens housing projects of the late 20's and early 30's is not supported by the New York City Landmarks Commission.